With Zombieland bringing back zombie movies in a big way and spawning not only a TV series but zombie comedies like Warm Bodies, it was only a matter of time before we got our next big, serious zombie epic. Based on a popular novel by Max Brooks, World War Z stars Brad Pitt and boasted an epic scale in its otherwise somewhat underwhelming trailers.
As it turns out, the movie failed in a very different way than I thought it would.
This is the kind of movie I honestly expect to look fun in the trailers but end up being a bore, Battle L.A. and Total Recall being prime examples of that. There are many things wrong with this movie but I can't really say I was bored by it as it kept the action going throughout and rarely wasted too much time with unimportant filler. It does slow down quite a bit near the end, though, but even those parts had some form of suspense to them. The film's first half hour really is its biggest turn off. In 3D (avoid the 3D at all costs, by the way), the film is so dark and the way its shot is so shaky (literally) and so close that I was struggling to see anything. Most of the time, I found myself thirsting for establishing shots! This really felt like War Of The Worlds if that movie had been directed by a sleepy Paul Greengrass. Also, you do get the sense that a lot of the shots are shaky in order to keep the film at a 15 rating since this is quite probably the most bloodless zombie movie around.
Brad Pitt isn't exactly acting his ass off in this. For most of it, he just looks a bit sleepy and a bit puffed-up. He doesn't really sell his character as a worthy hero to root for. The family his character is given feels pretty useless also, it must be said. Overall, this movie is pretty joyless, so much so that whenever someone says the word "zombie" it sounds super-silly. In fact, a lot of World War Z is unintentionally pretty darn funny: between the shameless Pepsi product placement, the scientist who falls on his own gun, the plane zombies, the slapstick deaths, the army's misguided bicycle solution, the whole Israelis and Palestinians are best buddies thanks to zombies thing, the fact zombies are attracted to SOUND, the thrilling climax in Cardiff of all places... take your pick, there are a lot of lols in this movie. But, like I said, the film is also pretty relentless so at least you'll leave the cinema somewhat entertained. World War Z did have some potential, in all fairness: the CGI and make-up effects are pretty good, the film depicts the desperation of some of its characters really well, it has its tense moments and, as silly as those scenes are, the film's second act is genuinely tons of fun, so there's always that.
All in all, while most definitely not a very good movie, World War Z is a generic, somewhat cliched mess but one that, at the very least, has some entertainment value. It's nowhere near as good as Steven Spielberg's underrated War Of The Worlds, a film it borrows a lot from, but if zombie movies are your thing then I'd say check it out. It won't blow your mind but it won't chew on your brains either.